Philadelphia FOP facing criticism after Proud Boys attend Pence rally

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia's police union president is condemning the Proud Boys, a far-right group, after criticism that the group was allowed to attend a rally while Vice President Mike Pence was in town.

Video taken by the Philadelphia Inquirer reportedly shows off-duty officers mingling with members deemed by some as a hate group during the 'Back the Blue' rally last Thursday.

"I am deeply disturbed by reports that members of the Proud Boys -- designated a general hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- were at a party hosted by the leadership of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police following Mike Pence's visit to Philadelphia," said District Attorney Larry Krasner is a statement on Monday. "About ten members of the Proud Boys were observed mingling with several local police officers at the party, which was held at a members-only area of the Philadelphia FOP headquarters."

But FOP Lodge #5 President John McNesby says he was unaware the group was on FOP property.

"If we were aware of their presence, we would have immediately escorted them off our property. At no time were these individuals allowed inside of our building," said McNesby. "Philadelphia police officers, FOP leadership, and members condemn their hateful and discriminatory speech in any form."

"We always go to conservative rallies, Trump rallies and we see an event going on for the police and we wanted to go there and show our support for them," said Zach Rehl, president of Proud Boys Philadelphia.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Proud Boys as a general hate group, but Rehl begs to differ.

"We're against racism, and our group is multi-racial as it is. We have African Americans in our group, we have gays in our group, we have Asians, you know everybody," said Rehl.

Krasner says there is no report that any FOP leader asked the Proud Boys to leave last week.

"The FOP leadership failed to ask the Proud Boys to leave even after its members aggressively questioned two reporters for attempting to take their photographs, telling one that she was 'heading down a dangerous road' by staying there," said Krasner.

"You know, John McNesby says a lot of things, every now and then one of them's true. He said they were not inside and there was photos of them being inside. He's just not reliable," added Krasner.
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